The Sporting News' Real Scouts has rated the top players at each position, and at inside linebacker, the Baltimore Ravens' Ray Lewis gets the #4 ranking, which is probably amazing for most 34 year old linebackers, but I'm not satisfied with that "honor."
The top three above Ray are, in order, Chicago's Brian Uhrlacher, SF's Patrick Willis and Arizona's Karlos Dansby. Now I've always felt that Uhrlacher was overrated, and while Willis is going to be a great one, he doesn't have the field presence of Lewis and Dansby, while very solid, is still no Ray. To me Ray is the best ILB in all of pro football, not just currently, but of all-time. No one, repeat no one, reads the field and the offense, much less prepares like he does. Offenses gameplan around him, which is part of the reason so many other players on the Ravens have solid careers in his shadow and then go off for the big bucks and return to mediocrity. Along those lines, the New York Jets' Bart Scott came in at #212 on that list.
The Sporting News rates all positions, so here is a sampler of what the other positions look like and the Ravens on their lists:
OLB: 1. DeMarcus Ware (Cowboys), 2. James Harrison (Steelers) 3. Shawn Merriman (Chargers), 4. Terrell Suggs (Ravens)
DT: 1. Albert Haynesworth, 2. Ken Williams (Vikings), 3. Vince Wilfork (Patriots), 4. Haloti Ngata (Ravens), 6. Shaun Rogers (Browns)
OT: 1. Ryan Clady (Broncos), 14. Jared Gaither (Ravens)
G: 1. Steve Hutchinson (Vikings), NOTE: Ben Grubbs not in Top 20.
C: 1. Nick Mangold (Jets), 6. Jason Brown (Rams), NOTE: Matt Birk not in Top 10.
TE: 1. Jason Witten (Cowboys), 9. Todd Heap (Ravens)
WR: 1. Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona), 4. Anquan Boldin (Arizona), NOTE: No Ravens in Top 20.
FB: 1. Greg Jones (Jaguars), 2. Le'Ron McClain (Ravens)
RB: 1. Adrian Peterson (Vikings), NOTE: No Ravens in Top 20
QB: 1. Peyton Manning (Colts), 13. Matt Ryan (Falcons), 16. Joe Flacco (Ravens)
To see the entire article and rankings, click here.